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How to Think Outside the Box when Playing Blackjack

Intertops Casino would like to present a somewhat new way to look at blackjack strategy.   This is more a set of insights into blackjack than another rehash of standard blackjack strategy which we have recommended often in the past.

Some of the best poker strategists are actually mathmaticians.  They give great poker strategy advice.  Except for one thing: they are such good mathematicians that they often lose sight of the fact that very few people are good mathematicians.  So, a lot of their explanations go over the head of not only us but almost everyone else whether you play blackjack at a land-based casino or at an online casino.

So, let’s see if we can simplify a sound understanding of blackjack for the average player.

Card Counting Works to a Degree

The best blackjack table for card counting is a single deck table.  These are very hard to find at land-based casinos where they either use a six-deck or an eight-deck shoe or have a perpetual shuffling machine so that there is absolutely no way to count cards.

Online casinos rely on the random number generator to provide the next card and that means that the deck is shuffled virtually after each hand.

But what should a player do if they are lucky enough to find a table that uses a single deck?  Then you have to look at the rules in other cases at that table.  Do they allow you to split any pair?  Do they let you double down on any two cards?  Do they allow surrender?  Do they allow splitting after splitting, meaning that you can split when you got another of the same card?  Finally, do they pay 3-2 for blackjack or do they pay 6-5 which has become so pervasive these days?

Counting cards is not the be all and end all in blackjack strategy.  You need the rules to allow you the most flexibility.  It is this flexibility that will help you lower the house edge to almost zero.

Don’t “Help” the Dealer

This means that the dealer will bust about 30% of the time if we give them the chance to do so.  Many blackjack players feel that this idea alone makes it a good play to stand as soon as you have 12 or more points since with 11 points you can’t bust but with 12 points you have a good chance of busting.

The better strategists among blackjack players will say that there are many situations when it is the best strategy to hit with 12 points.  For example, if the dealer is showing a card from a 7 to an ace, it is much better statistically to hit with 12 points than to stand.

So, the injunction to not help the dealer works both ways: we should not foolishly hit and we should not foolishly stand.

In blackjack, the dealer will bust about 30% of the time and the dealer will win slightly more than 50% of the time.  The player will lose about 42% of the time either by busting or by ending up with a lower point count than the dealer, and the hand will end up as a push about 8% of the time.

We have to give the dealer every opportunity to bust and to keep our exposure to busting to a minimum but there are many hands where we have to risk busting because the statistical advantage swings strongly to the house if we stand when we should hit.

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17 and 18 Points are Not a Good Point Count for Players

This is borne out by statistics.  If the dealer does not bust, they can still win many hands with higher point counts than your 17 or 18.  This does not mean that a player should hit with 17 points.  It does mean that players should always hit with soft 17 and that there are times to hit with soft 18. 

21 Points is Not the Goal in Blackjack

There are two goals in blackjack: to beat the dealer and to avoid getting 22 or more points.  It is a lot more common to beat the dealer than to get 21 points.

Unless you get blackjack in a game where a player’s blackjack always wins, 21 points won’t win in every case since the dealer can also get 21 points for a push.  So, the real motivation is to win and avoid busting.  Here is where surrender helps players a lot.

Most blackjack tables don’t allow surrender for this reason.  Surrender, when used correctly, is worth a solid fraction of a percent extra benefit to players and it has no compensatory benefit to the house. So, look for a game that allows surrender, learn how and when to use it, and train yourself to accept the psychologically difficult decision to forfeit half your bet without a fight.

In truth, surrender, when used correctly, is a powerful fighting tool in which you rescue half your bet from near certain doom.  Surrender is the Dunkirk of blackjack!

Play All or Most of Your Blackjack Online

First of all, as we have said so many times, when you play online you have many benefits.  Here are just a few:

  1. No travel costs.
  2. No free alcohol.
  3. Much better control of your time and money.
  4. More hands so you can practice more at low stakes.
  5. Unlimited free play.

The only thing online blackjack does not have is other players at the table.  Some players like to have some social interaction.  A land-based casino may be the least desirable place to go to looking for social interaction.  We feel that online gaming satisfies the gaming side of your desires and then you can do maybe a hundred different things to get the kind of social interaction you want.

  1. You could join a club of which there are thousands with an equal number of interests.
  2. You can play chess, checkers, or backgammon in the park.
  3. You can take a course in any of thousands of subjects.
  4. You can get together with friends.
  5. You can ask friends to set you up on blind dates.

Blackjack is a Regal Game

Blackjack is subtle where slots are aggressively and vibrantly entertaining.  Of course, there is room in any gamer’s repertoire of games for both types of entertainment.  That is another of the many benefits of gaming at Intertops Casino Red.

Intertops Casino offers a great new player package that is worth up to $5555!  We invite all new players to sign up NOW!  We also wish all players—new ones and long term players—great gaming fun at Intertops playing all of our over 300 games!

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